Life & Stuff · Mental Health

Practice and Presence

I was watching a YouTube video earlier and this phrase was said at the end: “anything can be accomplished with practice and presence.”

And it struck a cord with me because isn’t that just so true? But the problem is, most of us aren’t present in the here and now, and we aren’t willing to put in the practice to get the results we seek.

I was saying to my brother just yesterday how I wish I was multilingual. We watched this video of Nathaniel Drew speaking to his polyglot grandmother, who speaks 5 languages. I was in awe. It’s so beautiful. There’s something so special about being able to speak multiple languages semi-fluidly; it bridges connection between peoples and nations…

He was like, “yeah but language apps and AI technology are being developed,” and yeah that’s all cool, but nothing beats being able to do it yourself with your own awesome brain!

Anyway, I digress…

 

Practice

In life, we are never done learning or growing. We are ever the learner. The problem comes when we get comfortable or complacent and think we needn’t keep practising, trying, or striving for a new understanding of even the things we consider ourselves to be good at.

  • Your relationships
  • Your job
  • Your hobby/ skills
  • Cooking
  • Travelling
  • Friendships
  • Money
  • Fitness
  • Journalling
  • And on and on and on

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re done “trying”, basically.

That your partner will always be there no matter what. No! You need to practice and learn and give to them and grow every damn day. You owe them that. You owe yourself that. Relationships sometimes end when people stop trying. When you assume that you know everything about them or what they want and need, you stop listening and seeing their truth.

You need to choose your partner every day; you need to see them with fresh eyes and practice at being a good partner because we’re never done and perfect.

The same goes for my writing, for example. I can always do and be better, which isn’t a negative; it’s freeing. It means there is no perfection to reach. I’m allowed to always be learning and growing. Always practising.

When I sit down, I can call it “practising my writing”, instead of writing a chapter or a post, and that takes the pressure off.

Why do we struggle with this idea of practising actively?

  • Fear of failure
  • Wanting fast results
  • Wanting to be the best
  • Impatience
  • Undisciplined
  • Distracted by shiny new things
  • Keeping to what we know already
  • Comfort zone
  • Perfectionism
  • Comparison

 

Presence

The next thing that’s so important, yet we struggle to do it, is presence. Full, complete, undivided present-ness. I have only read part of The Power of Now, but many people in the self-help sphere swear by it as one of the best, most life-changing books for a better life.

Why?

Because we are in an age of distraction and limited attention. We’re doing a million things at once. We scroll to fill small moments of time where we have “nothing to do” instead of just being.

Allowing ourselves to just be is crucial for mental and emotional wellbeing.

When you’re present you have less stress and worries. You are just here and dealing with the only thing that needs to be done right now. Which is the right thing, right? You can’t tackle things aren’t happening right now; not tangibly, anyway.

Presence and it’s power comes down to (at a snapshot):

  • Focus and attention
  • Being more productive and doing things well because you’re actually giving it your full attention
  • Better relationships and connection
  • Being better equipped for things that pop up (being resilient and taking action)
  • You experience everything more deeply

 

How to keep practising and be more present

My number one thing that helps me remember to keep practising and stay present is yoga. I’m still a beginner; I fall over and shake, but I keep trying. I enjoy seeing progress and learning as I go. It also forces me to focus otherwise, yeah, I’ll fall and hurt myself!

But if that’s not for you, here are some little ways to feel more present and to be reminded of the importance of regular practice in everyday life.

  1. Sports – you have to practice and keep up as a good member of the team, while being wholly focused on what you’re doing in order to do it well.
  2. Creation – you have to practice your art in order to get better and it sometimes draws you right into it, thus being completely present.
  3. Caring for something or someone else who’s dependent on you: a child, volunteering, caring for a family member, a pet, etc., they need you attention and you learn about that person and their needs everyday.
  4. Choose to do something new often – when you’ve never done something before, there is no expectation (realistically) to be any good, so the pressure is gone and you MUST be the beginner; plus, you have to focus to learn what needs to be done.

 

Practice:

Make mistakes. Laugh and don’t take yourself too seriously. Get help and advice from others. Let yourself be wrong. Learn and be open-minded every day.

Presence:

Watch sunsets. Turn off your phone. Journal. Move your body. Trust in your path and safety in life (so you don’t fall into overthinking and contemplating the future). Have deep conversations with no TV or music on.

 

Sincerely,

S. xx

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